Visual novels and dating sims are on the rise on both PC and handhelds, and Amnesia: Memories holds the distinct honor of being the first major otome (game focued on a female protagonist finding a romanitic partner) title to release on both PlayStation Vita and Steam. It also holds the honor of being Idea Factory’s first Visual Novel for the West.
Mobile gamers will be able to pick up the game at a later date for Android and iOS, but for this review we’ll be focusing on the PlayStation Vita and PC.
Amnesia: Memories places you in the role of a young woman who wakes up one day with abslotely no memories of anything, including her own name. Unlike most amnesia-ridden characters, however, she is not suffering from a medical condition, but instead has lost her memories because a spirit named Orion has manifested itself in her subconscious.
The reasons for Orion’s manifestation are unknown, but his mere presence in her mind has served to block out every memory she had. Now she needs to attempt to regain her memories by seeking out people, items, and conversations in an attempt to spark a memory.
Of course it also gets a bit more complicated; The place that our heroine has awoken is a spot between dimensions, and Orion is unsure which one she came from. The dimensions are mostly named after suits in a deck of cards, such as “Heart World” and “Diamond World”, and each of these worlds has you already in a relationship with a different guy.
The differences between worlds don’t stop there, however. Each world has its own, unique storyline, featuring completely different moments from the rest. For example, in one, you wake up in a hospital, having apparently been in some sort of accident. In another, however, you’re immediately thrust into a date with a stranger who turns out to be your boyfriend.
Each of these worlds also has multiple endings that you an achieve, ranging from bad to good. The good endings in each can be seen as the “True” endings for each world, and the bad endings are definitely bad. I don’t want to spoil too much, but I will say that you should probably have a devilish sense of humour if you intend to actively seek these out.
Each of the characters in the game tends to be rather interesting, though several of the men can be rude and even creepy towards their partner. In many of these cases, they tend to have reasons for acting the way they do, but several of these reasons never fully fleshed out, which can lead to one feeling disappointed at not learning about them. Shin, for example, has a father who killed somebody, but this incident, which surely helped shape him into the man he is, isn’t fully fleshed out.
On the note of characters, it is interesting to see the varying roles they play in each world, since all are present in every one.
Though several are rude, they do tend to occasionally say something rather sweet to their loved ones. With that said, most will occasionally say something exceedingly sweet, though it tends to be rather late.
In terms of personality, this can be seen as either good or bad. Some may consider the depiction a bit more realistic, while others may simply like the cold and rude aesthetic of some of the guys.
In terms of how characters (and backgrounds) look, the visuals are fantastic on PC and Vita. Many will likely give PC the edge, as the Steam release boasts 1080p visuals, but the detail shows off the high quality nature of the release. Characters will blink, move their mouths as they speak, and have full Japanese voice acting.
If you want to experience everything that Amnesia: Memories has to offer, it will boast at least twenty hours of play, quite possibly more, depending on your reading speed. The four main paths offered a the beginning each have multiple endings, and, to top it off, once you have finished the four original paths, a new one is unlocked.
We mentioned these endings briefly earlier. They tend to fall into good (obviously what you want to shoot for as you attempt to make the guy love you despite your amnesia), middle-ground (ok, but nothing special), and bad (as mentioned before, you may only want this if you have a devilish sense of humour). Of course, it can be hard to get the best ending on each, since they are determined entirely by your dialogue choices, and there tend to be many cases where your choices are so close that it’s nearly impossible to figure out the “Correct” choice.
Once you have gone through a path, if you decide to replay it, you’ll get a bit of assistance in remembering what choices you made previously, as the previously chosen ones will be colored green.
When all’s said and done, Amnesia: Memories has its share of strengths (including great visuals, an amazing amount of replay value, and fantastic visuals) and weaknesses (incidents not fully fleshed out for some character backstories, and some may cite a lack of English voice acting as well).
In this reviewer’s opinion the strengths far outweigh the weaknesses, and Amnesia: Memories is a fun visual novel that fans of the genre should enjoy. Otome fans may be surprised at how serious and unpleasant some of the revelations can be, and those seeking a game filled with sweet, doting guys may want to pass. Those interested in unravelling a mystery (multiple times, as each incident is different) will likely enoy the game.
Final Score: 4/5